- Associated Press - Sunday, February 20, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone will rely on Bahrain’s crown prince to decide whether the season-opening grand prix will have to be canceled because of unrest on the Gulf island.

The March 13 race has been cast into doubt over the last week as protests mounted, with people demanding the ruling monarchy give up its near-absolute control over key policies and positions.

At least seven people have been killed and hundreds injured in the capital Manama, where the streets are lined with banners publicizing Bahrain’s premier international event.

Ecclestone said a decision on whether to postpone the race is set to be taken by Tuesday by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who is also deputy supreme commander of the armed forces.

“If anyone’s going to sort it out he’s the right guy to do it,” Ecclestone told BBC radio on Sunday. “He would decide whether or not it’s safe for us to be there. … Let’s wait until Tuesday and see if this one’s going to take place before we decide what to do.”

The Foreign Office in Britain, where Ecclestone and several F1 teams are based, has warned against non-essential travel to Bahrain.

Ecclestone said the race could be moved to later in the season, but said it’s not feasible to move the race to another circuit on short notice.

“Well they’re probably not ready, just to pop these things on just like that,” Ecclestone said. “Let’s hope it will be all right as it’s already scheduled.”

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